Do you really need a real estate agent?
Do you really need a real estate agent when all the information you need is readily available online? Many property buyers and owners often mull over this question. After all, some do well without representation. However, there is no denying that real estate agents can provide you invaluable assistance. They can make the entire home buying process smoother and more convenient, especially if you are inexperienced, unfamiliar, or even too lazy to pursue it yourself.
You should know that your attitude and personality significantly determines whether you need to employ the services of a real estate agent or not. If you are naturally meticulous, diligent, patient, hardworking, and blessed with a flexible schedule, then perhaps being your own “agent” is feasible. You can freely check your local listings, drive around town, and negotiate online deals on your own.
Now if you are still scratching your head, wondering if you need real estate assistance, here are some of its advantages and disadvantages.
Full-time broker Elizabeth Weintraub shares why you should hire a real estate agent.
- > Their extensive knowledge and experience will guide you in making the right decisions. Real estate agents have more experience and knowledge than you do when it comes to buying or selling houses. They know where the best neighbourhoods are based on price, appreciation value, and facilities which online advertisements and marketing channels do not have a firsthand or personal knowledge of.
- > They can disclose market conditions to you. Real estate agents can easily identify and compare data, such as per square foot costs, median and average sales prices, average days on market and ratios of list-to-sold prices, among other criteria, which will guide the selling or buying process.
- > They know the right people. Experienced real estate agents belong to a huge network of professionals, which include companies and vendors that provide the services you may need when buying or selling property. For example, they can give you a list of property developers they trust and have worked with in the past.
- > They can handle your paperwork. Buying or selling property is a tedious and time-consuming process partly because of all the necessary paperwork involved. A single purchase agreements or contract can sometimes run to 10 pages or more! Since real estate agents are used to and are familiar with such documents, they can easily fill out forms and manage them for you.
- > They can answer questions after closing. Sometimes authorities may suddenly appear and run after you even when you have already closed the deal. Often these are just details that have been overlooked during the transaction. However, if you want to avoid such complications, your real estate agents can answer for you. According to Weintraub, authorities collecting property tax assessments can fall months behind and mix up invoices, but one call to your agent can straighten out the confusion.
- > They need to be paid. One of the most obvious disadvantages for you is that you have to pay for your agent’s service. Agents usually come at a steep price. So if you are trying to cut your expenses, hiring one is not practical.
- > They might not show you everything. Remember that agents are also on the lookout for opportunities to get extra income, so their actions may not always be at your best interest. For example, some agents may not want to show you all the properties in a particular area, even if they know you might like them. This is because some are sold directly by their owners, thus your agent will most likely not get any commission from this kind of property.
- > They can pressure you to settle for the wrong price. Some agents (the bad ones at least!) are eager to get their commission as quickly as possible. Thus, they sometimes pressure you to settle for an offer without bothering to negotiate with the seller’s asking price. In the end, your agent gets his fee and you are left paying more than you could have reduced the price to.
Keep in mind that there are many real estate agents that do not work with your best interest in mind. This is why it is important to ask your friends for credible and trustworthy agents if you plan to employ their services in the future.